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 Post subject: Skirmisher breakdown
PostPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2015 7:47 pm 
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Sher'Tul

Joined: Fri Apr 23, 2010 4:56 am
Posts: 1049
Note: this is written with some early-game experience of the skirmisher, but I've not yet been past level 20ish with one. Insight from those who've taken one higher would be gratefully received. Also, this is about Normal difficulty. Higher difficulty levels change things, I know.

The skirmisher is a highly mobile, surprisingly durable ranged fighter Primary stats are dex (max first) and cunning (max second). Get as much con as you need to qualify for thick skin at a reasonable rate, and then split the rest between con and will, depending on whether you like hp or stamina more. Unless you're going for variant builds, you should be able to get enough str to qualify for your armor of choice from gear, and you shouldn't need magic at all.

Worth noting - the skirmisher does have a will-based tree, but it doesn't have any skills that are will-dependent, and you can qualify for the bits that you need over time with gear. Unless you decide that you really want antimagic, or pick up some cross-class skills by betraying escorts, the only thing you're really getting out of will long-term is the base stamina effects. Now, the skirmisher has some powers that are real stamina hogs, so that's not nothing, but it's not as much as a lot of other classes

Antimagic: Given what I've seen thus far, I don't advise it. It's tempting. It's very tempting. I'm quite fond of antimagic overall, the skirmisher can afford the generics, and they already have some build-in mobility options - making the lack of teleport runes less of a problem. Even better, they often want to invest at least a little in willpower to begin with. It's a trap, though - or at least looks to be one. As a skirmisher, you must have a sling, and you must have sling bullets, and the vast majority of your damage wil be channeled through both. Cutting off your arcane options for sling and stones *hurts*. A lot of your affixes are arcane, a lot of your *better* affixes are arcane, many of the uniques that you might find are arcane, and upgrades come along rarely enough that if you miss a tier jump because the gear was arcane, it might be a while before you get another shot. That's not to say that you *couldn't* play antimagic - just that it looks too costly to be worth it from my view.

Class Trees:
Buckler training: A class-defining tree, and one of your sources of survivability. suggested 1/1or5/5/3-5
- Buckler Expertise: a one-point wonder that's also a one-point unlock. What's not to love? Given the way it scales, if you're maxing your cunning (which you absolutely should), then the impact of points past the first is going to be relatively low. Also, this is one of your two skills that's only applicable when you're in melee. Generally, melee is something that you want to be in briefly if at all, unless your foes are really just that nonthreatening - and if they're nonthreatening, then it doesn't really matter.
- Bash and Smash: a very nice little skill that should get its first point and stay on your skill bar forever. Early game, it's a knockback with some decent damage, which is nice for getting a bit of breathing room and/or juggling. Once you get 5 in Buckler mastery, the damage becomes *quite* nice, and it looks like having 5 here would be awesome for the second attack. It is, kind of - but it's also a trap. The problem is that Bash and Smash is melee-only. If you're looking at a foe that's powerful enough that you want to pull out your big damage-dealers on it, then you shouldn't be lookign for ways to get into melee. Bash and Smash is much better as a situational power than as part of your default plan.
- Buckler mastery: 5. Just 5. You like being in long-range. This power makes being at long range work better for you - and at 5, it also upgrades Bash and Smash, which is nice. I maxxed this as soon as it was available, and have never regretted it.
- Counter Shot: I'd sink a point or two here from time to time. There's no need to rush it, but it's nearly free damage - no stamina, and no actions. My suspicion is that at higher levels, it'll be worth maxxing.

Skirmisher-Slings: suggested 5/1-5/3-5/0or5
- Sling Supremacy: max this. Push every point you can into dex as fast as you can, so that you can max this faster. Hang onto dex-boosting gear in the early game even if it's not the gear you're wearing so you can swap it in for levelling and max this faster.
- Swift Shot: a decent little damage bump, and relatively cheap. Handy in places. Probably worth a point for the tactical applications, and might be worth maxxing eventually.
- Hurricane Shot: The closest thing you have to area effect. Useful, but kind of a resource hog-consuming a fair chunk of stamina and a *lot* of sling stones. Note that here, as elsewhere, if you don't have enough stones in the pouch, you lose shots. Worth taking to 3.
- Bombardment: expensive. It's a damage boot without a cooldown. That's nice. It's instant-on, instant-off - letting you use it when you need it, and not when you don't. *that*'s nice. It burns through both stamina and sling stones at a tremendous rate, though. It's a build choice in some ways. If you get it, you want 5 in it, and if you're spending 5 in it (and at least 3 in Hurricane shot) then you'll want to use it frequently, which means putting some real effort into building up your stamina economy and paying more attention to pouch size when selecting bullets (and current stones when fighting).

Tireless Combatant: the stamina economy tree. suggested 3-5/1/3-5/0-5
- Breathing Room: worth getting to 3 as soon as the willpower on your found gear permits. The built-in healing helps a fair bit early on, and the stamina recovery is about right for the early game. Later on, the healing is going to get less meaningful, so let the last two points be decided by your stamina needs.
- Pace Yourself: one point unlock. Never used. I suppose there might be builds where it would make sense to max this, but the global speed is pretty important. Is there anyone out there that's found a use for this one?
- Dauntless Challenger: Another stamina-and-hp regen skill, like Breathing Room, with the bonus that you are pretty much always getting the bonus from one or the other, and if you're doing it right you're often getting both. I'd take this one to 3 for the life regen, too. Beyond that, it's a matter of your stamina needs.
- The Eternal Warrior: look like it could be cool, but I haven't really gotten to the poitn where it's pertinent. Any comments?

Called Shots: efficient, effective single-target hits on a cooldown. Not sure of suggestions - suspect that it's 1/3-5/3-5/5. Particularly worth of note - not only do they skip right past intervening foes, they also travel instantly - making hitting mobile enemies from far away a lot more sure.
- kneecapper: A delightful little one-point-wonder. Early on, it's part of your kiting toolkit - keeping those melee foes far enough away for long enough to take them down. Later, that becomes somewhat less relevant, but it's still excellent for pinning the foe in optimal Kill Shot range and/or pinning them to the floor so that you can hit them with attacks that *aren't* called shots. Also serves usefully in getting that last bit of damage in on a high-value target who's behind a lot of enemies, and who you've *almost* killed with Kill Shot and Noggin Knocker. Might be worth upgrading later to get the pi to 2 turns if it's not enough for you at 1, but you won't get a whole lot of extra damage out of it.
- Kill Shot: So far, I haven't taken this above one point, and even so it's been a healthy block of damage when hitting things in its optimal range envelope. I expect that when I manage to shake lose the class points to max it it'll be quite the effective little damage-dealer.
- Head Knocker: This is our stun power, and it's a good one. Pick a foe anywhere on the board, hit them three times, and rack up a nice little stun effect. There is no excuse for not getting at least a point in this. Lately, I've been finding use in it as a fight-opener against major foes, and suspect I'll want to max it, but for now I only have two points.
- Sling Sniper: I haven't had enough experience with this one to give actual understanding of how good it is, but given how useful Called Shots have been with even relatively minimal investment, I suspect I'll want to max it. That phys pen sounds pretty tasty. I know I'll want at least three points for the cooldown help.

Trapping: honestly? no clue.

Poisons: Haven't used them myself. Vile Poisons looks interesting, but the fact that the 2nd and 3rd skills look like they're both melee range isn't really selling it to me. Anyone have any insight on this one?

Generic Trees:
Combat Training: you're here for Thick Skin and Accuracy, both of which you should max. Maybe take a point of armor training if you like your gloves and boots all clanky. Anything past that is the realm of strange variant builds.

Acrobatics: a *delightful* mobility tree. Vault starts as a kiting tool and winds up as your "get out of melee free" card. Tumble is a great little tactical repositioning power that you will just keep finding uses for (kite, insta-dodge ranged attacks, zip to where you can step out of site before the foe gets another turn, set up perfect range for Kill Shot... the list just keeps going on). For those two, the main benefit of more skill points is more range, and you should buy accordingly. Definitely worth more than one each, but may not be worth 5. Trained Reactions? I have a couple of points in it, and I use it, but I'm not sure exactly how much good it's doing me. Anyone else what to weigh in? I'm not sure about Superb Agility either - I'll likely max it, if only because I'm not particularly hungry for generics, and it sounds mildly useful, but feedback from others would be nice.

Survival. It's the survival tree. You all already know this one.

Field control: Haven't ever used this one. Given that I'm unlikely to go antimagic, I might wind up unlocking it just to have a place to spend points, but insight from others would be nice.

Races: eh??? I'll toss something in about races later.


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 Post subject: Re: Skirmisher breakdown
PostPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2015 10:07 pm 
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Sher'Tul

Joined: Wed May 22, 2013 2:39 am
Posts: 1280
Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
I'm not sure if the Skirmisher has been updated since last I played the class, but here is some input:

*******

I'd note that Willpower is slightly important to Skirmishers. Since you run through stamina so quick with your active talents, you really benefit from the extra stamina pool when you don't outright obliterate everything. You do regenerate stamina pretty quickly but you don't necessarily want to be doing that in a particularly tough fight.

********

Buckler Expertise is pretty 'meh' to a lot of people. It is good for a few points but most argue that you actively stay out of melee. Late game it is potentially worth maxing though because staying out of melee becomes extremely difficult unless you are fighting enemies that they themselves are trying to stay out of melee.

Bash & Smash becomes far more useful in the later game. When you end up in melee more of then time then out of melee, you gain a lot more use out of Bash & Smash and can take advantage of its powerful properties.

Counter Shot is garbage. Each time Counter Shot procs you consume a shot from your shot pouch, meaning you have less ammo for doing more productive attacks - like Called Shots. Its not worth investing in.

*****

Eternal Warrior is quite good to making you resistant later on. You'll be spending stamina quite a bit as you progress in the game, so it is a good talent to dump points into later on.

*****

Kneecapper is a nice talent that is okay to leave at 1/5 but is also decent to invest in further. The main thing to know about it is that it is a 'Disabler' talent, with the purpose of disabling enemies later on - getting Pin AND Slow on an enemy is exceptionally powerful.

Kill Shot has been argued as being a One Point wonder and nothing more talent. There is some benefit to raising up its talent level, but it is true that the gains are very minimal. Still, it's the most powerful talent within the entire Skirmisher Tree once you pick up a Ranged 10 Sling.

Sling Sniper is stupidly overpowered for what it offers. Kill Shot without Sling Sniper is deadly. Kill Shot WITH Sling Sniper is deadly with bonus critical chance and damage. Late game you get a big chunk of damage in your Called Shots due to this talent.

****

Trapping apparently goes well with Skirmisher since you can Vault over Traps and unlike a Rogue you aren't attacking from melee. Haven't used it myself but there is the minimum of what I know of it.

Poisons are... okay. On Normal difficulty there isn't much 'omph' to them because enemies die too quickly. You can apply Poisons with Hurricane Shot and there are also some other strategies of note as well.

****

Any race can make a Skirmisher work really. I've won with Halfling Skirmisher on Normal and Dwarf Skirmisher on Nightmare. The only races that might be really poor for it would be Ghouls since they move slower and Cornacs because of the lack of use for the free Category point. All other Races should have some synergy with the Skirmisher.

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 Post subject: Re: Skirmisher breakdown
PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2015 12:26 pm 
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Sher'Tul

Joined: Fri Apr 23, 2010 4:56 am
Posts: 1049
wrt "counter shot is garbage" - I don't buy it. After you've upgraded sling supremacy all the way, you get 4 bullets just by sitting still for a turn, or walking for a turn - and a fully upgraded counter shot is doing at least 50% shot damage, at the cost of a sling bullet. a four attack, 50% each turn for no stamina is *fantastic* as far as the skirmisher's economy goes. Were you perhaps playign before the reload changes went in?

Kill Shot looks like it's gotten some better multipliers since last you saw it - going from 1 skill point to 2 gets you something like a 25% damage increase, and the later increases are in line with that.


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 Post subject: Re: Skirmisher breakdown
PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2015 10:06 pm 
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Cornac

Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2015 1:21 am
Posts: 32
Location: Parts Unknown
I'm trying my first Slinger (Dwarf, Normal, Adventure) just underway to level 10 so far and I will say this for it. Nothing I've ever tried has made the tier 1 dungeons look easier, at least. The only thing to even threaten me in the first 10 levels was The Shade in Kor'Pul, he froze me twice as he likes to do, but even then I don't think I've actually been below 50% health in the early days. Since there aren't really a lot of serious ranged threats until Diakara, there really isn't that much that can even threaten you. Maybe that Spellblaze Crystal boss by the Shalore start, but even then just do it last if you're worried.

With Dwarf you only need to dump 2 points into strength at level 1 to get permanent tier 1 armors too, which is nice I guess. Set it and forget it. It's such a small jump to make I see no reason to play Slinger with crappier armor over a couple stat points.

My other first impression is that having access to Acrobatics makes them clearly better than Archers. I am not even particularly good at maximizing my use of distance or positional control, but Vault and Tumble are both clearly really strong skills on a ranged character. Plus the Called Shots is something Archers also lack (at least that I remember), that ability to shoot someone at the back of a crowd: my one half-decent Archer run fell apart against The Master in Dreadfell because I didn't have a good way to actually nuke the guy through his constant regenerating meat sheild (how come The Master never seems to run out of souls, anyway).

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